Watch Rachel Maddow Talk with Maine’s Gov. Baldacci about Question 1

October 30, 2009

President Obama Announces Final Rule Ending Ban on HIV-Positive Immigrants

October 30, 2009

(San Francisco, California, October 30, 2009) – The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) praised President Obama’s announcement today that a final rule repealing the ban on entry to the United States by people with HIV will be published on Monday, November 2.  The repeal will take effect in early January, 2010.

Statement from Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights:

“The ban on entry by HIV-positive immigrants and visitors to the United States has devastated countless lives since it was put in place 22 years ago.  That exclusionary policy was rooted in baseless, outdated fears of casual HIV transmission, and unfairly stigmatized people with HIV and AIDS.  The ban has been particularly harmful to LGBT immigrants and their families, preventing some of the most vulnerable individuals who need to escape violence or threats of harm in their home countries from finding shelter here.  We applaud President Obama for completing the repeal effort begun by Congress and President Bush last year and ending this discriminatory ban once and for all.”

Watch President Obama Sign the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Act

October 30, 2009

The President talks about the legacy of Ryan White as he reauthorizes the landmark bill named in his honor that helps provide medical treatment to more than half a million Americans living with HIV/AIDS.

read the President’s remarks here

White House Announces End to HIV Travel Ban

October 30, 2009

By Garance Franke-Ruta | Washington Post

President Obama called the 22-year ban on travel and immigration by HIV-positive individuals a decision “rooted in fear rather than fact” and announced the end of the rule-making process lifting the ban.

The president signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 at the White House Friday and also spoke of the new rules, which have been under development more more than a year. “We are finishing the job,” the president said.

read more

Watch R-71 Personal Stories: Cathlin and Avril

October 29, 2009

To help educate voters in Washington State about Referendum 71, the Approve Ref. 71 Campaign and the ACLU’s LGBT Project have released a series of online videos that feature the stories of registered domestic partners from across Washington State. To watch all of them, please visit R71 Personal Stories.

Cathlin and Avril, a couple from Clarkson, need the domestic partnership law to protect their family, especially during the uncertainties they face with Cathlin’s cancer treatment.

Please vote to Approve Referendum 71, and help protect all Washington families.

Help WA, ME and Kalamazoo Win on November 3rd—We Need Your Help Today!

October 29, 2009

3-2-1Yesterday, our community secured an historic victory with President Obama signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Yet in less than one week, our rights are put to a popular vote in three states: Washington State, Maine, and Michigan.

Last year, the LGBT movement suffered tremendous defeats as we lost every LGBT-specific state ballot initiative on Election Day. We must make sure that we write a different ending to this story in 2009. Take action to support LGBT equality TODAY.

Below you’ll find information on the three ballot initiatives that need our urgent help. Together, we can re-write history.

To the finish line,
kate signature


Approve Ref71 - Phone BankWashington State

Who we are: Approve Referendum 71 is the campaign to preserve domestic partnerships in Washington State. By voting to approve, voters retain the domestic partnership laws that were passed during this year’s legislative session, including using sick leave to care for a partner, adoption rights, insurance rights, and more.

What we need: We need phone bankers to get our supporters out to vote. Washington is an all mail-in ballot state, and we need to ensure our supporters put their ballots in the mail. Also, youth turnout is a critical component of our campaign, and youth turnout historically drops in off-year elections. So we need a lot of help to turn them out.

How you can help: Sign up here to make remote calls for Approve 71. We’ll then contact you for a training, and you can make GOTV calls.

Who we are: The No On 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign is working to protect Maine’s recently-passed law legalizing marriage for same-sex couples. Because of Maine’s early voting election laws, people are already voting at the polls, so we need help immediately to turn our side out to vote NO at the polls.

What we need: We need you to devote a few hours to Call for Equality. Call for Equality is a virtual phonebank set up so that you can call Maine voters wherever you are. Much of Maine is rural, where canvassing isn’t effective, so we need to reach these voters–along with other supporters–by phone. All you need is a phone and internet connection. No experience required! We’ll provide the training, and all you need is a few hours to help get a win in Maine.

How you can help: Click here to sign up for a training and your shift. There are lots of times available for your convenience.
kalamazooKalamazoo, MI

Who we are: The Yes on Ordinance 1856 / One Kalamazoo campaign is working in Michigan to support the City Commission of Kalamazoo’s twice-approved ordinance for housing, employment, and public accommodation protections for LGBT residents. Opponents forced a public referendum on the ordinance so dedicated local volunteers are working to ensure voters say YES to fairness and equality and keep Ordinance 1856.

Why the urgency: In the final weeks, the opposition has gone all out with aggressive disinformation and misleading red herrings to try to defeat the ordinance. This includes signs that say “No to Discrimination” (even though voting No actually supports continued discrimination of LGBT residents), transphobic door hangers and fliers, and now radio ads that falsely suggest that criminal behavior will become legal when this simply isn’t true. The Yes on Ordinance 1856 supporters are better organized but many voters who want to vote for LGBT people are getting confused by the opposition.

How you can help:
1) Help the One Kalamazoo campaign raise a final $10,000 specifically dedicated to fight back against the lies on the local TV and radio airwaves and fully fund the campaign’s final field and Get Out The Vote efforts.
Give here:

2) If you live nearby and can physically volunteer in Kalamazoo sign up here. If you know anyone that lives in Kalamazoo, use the One Kalamazoo campaign’s online canvass tool to remind those voters that they need to vote on November 3rd and vote YES on Ordinance 1856 to support equality for LGBT people.
Contact voters:

Argentine Congress Considers Same-Sex Marriage

October 29, 2009

by Vanessa Hand Orellana | Associated Press

Argentina Same Sex Marriage

Maria Rachid (left), president of Argentina's GLBT Federation, and her partner Claudio Castro (AP Photo)

Is Argentina ready to become Latin America’s first nation to legalize gay marriage?

Gay and lesbian activists think so — and they have a growing number of supporters in Congress, which opened debate Thursday on whether to change dozens of laws that define marriage as a union between a “man and woman.”

“We can’t expect social equality if the state is legitimizing inequality,” said Maria Rachid, president of Argentina’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Federation. “We now have the social and political context necessary to change the law.”

read more